October 17, 2011
We had the privilege to accompany Christian Solidarity International-USA on its latest slave liberation mission to South Sudan. Over two days more than 400 South Sudanese were freed and provided with essential humanitarian aid.
|Freed slaves are waiting to receive aid|
|Freed slaves with CSI's Sacks of Hope|
Below please find a story of one of the freed slaves, Atong Mawien Tong, written by Pastor Heidi McGinness, CSI-USA Director of Outreach.
CSI-USA has also arranged for a former slave Ker Aleu Deng, who was blinded as a result of being brutally tortured by his master, to testify before Congress.
Please watch CBN News report on Ker's testimony.
Ellen Ratner, the White House Correspondent and Bureau Chief for The Talk Radio News Service and a news analyst on The Fox News Channel who brought Ker to the United States, is now working on extending his visa to prevent a deportation.
Atong Mawien Tong's Story
By Pastor Heidi McGinness of CSI
Photos by Pastor Heidi
Note: This is an abbreviated retelling of an extended interview for Dr. John Eibner and Gunnar Wiebalck. I will write Atong's entire story at a later date.
We approached the awaiting slaves-men, women and children-waiting for our arrival. Even though I walked almost immediately to the women with infants, many infants who exhibited signs of upper respiratory infections, even though I connected and held a little toddler who had made eye contact with me, I could not forget her. She was the first one I saw, this Madonna of Suffering dressed in emerald green seated next to a younger woman who obviously was esteemed as a daughter. As soon as I could, I requested to interview her with the capable assistance of Luka Garang Kenyang as translator.
|Atong Mawien Tong|
Her story in abbreviation . . .
She could not remember what year she was taken into the North. She said it was during the fighting of the SPLA with the Janjiweed, "but I do not know the year. I do remember that it was a month journey into the North. Along the way, we were beaten and sexually abused by the Arab militia, every day, many times a day. When we tried to fight, refuse, some of us were beaten, cut on our back; some had their throats slit. I was sexually abused so often by so many that I could never have children again. One time when I tried to wrestle myself free, the Arab militia held me, bound me and were very bad to me. They also knocked out my front teeth."
"I was a married woman in the South with three children. I was separated from my husband and children. I do not know if they are alive. Many in my family were killed, but I was the only one taken to the North. I dream of my husband. In the dream he climbs out of the grave. When he sees me, he runs away." Even though she feared his rejection so deeply, she said, "I will look now for my people, for my husband, for my children."
"Every day my work was the same. It was much suffering all day long. Early in the morning the master had me get water. From the water I was to collect firewood. From the firewood I was to wash the clothes of the master's family. From there I was to take care of the goats and then at night to clean the children. Then I had to take out the goat and cow dung from the pens and place firewood by the pens. I saw other Dinka, but we were not allowed to speak to them. There was no resting. I cried, but there were no tears."
"Look into my eyes," I said to Atong. "I will pray for you every day. God will have us meet again here in South Sudan or we will meet in Heaven." "Where will I meet you again?" she asked. "God will make it happen," I replied. "I will pray for you," she said, "our prayers will meet in the sky."
|Pastor Heidi McGinness and Atong Mawien Tong|